ANDERSON — An environmental group that opposes a proposal to build a new reservoir in Anderson says it would have adverse health and economic impacts.
The Heart of the River Coalition released a “Case Statement of Opposition” to the proposed White River dam that would create a reservoir stretching from downtown Anderson into western Delaware County. Plans for the 7-mile-long, $400 million reservoir were announced in March.
“The forested riparian corridor along this section of the upper White River represents a refuge for our native flora and fauna in an otherwise suburban and agricultural landscape. Preservation and stewardship of this living museum of natural history is our obligation to future generations,” said Kevin Tungesvick, a botanist who resides in Anderson.
The group says the project raises health concerns, including waste from former auto industry plants that might contaminate the reservoir. They also say the project would destroy animal habitat and would hurt local businesses.
Sheryl Myers, also from Anderson, added: “This plan is a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem. Dams are being removed from rivers across the US. We represent citizens in our community who would rather capitalize on the natural treasures already in place rather than build a reservoir and relinquish decision-making authority to profit-seeking organizations outside the community.”
The project’s supporters have been holding public meetings and seeking the support of elected officials.
In October, Rob Sparks, executive director of the Anderson-Madison Corporation for Economic Development and chief sponsor of the proposal, said he was seeking funding for an in-depth study of the proposal. That study was expected to cost about $600,000.
The study is expected to look at engineering, environmental and community impact, all of which have been major questions raised by public officials and critics alike since plans to build the reservoir became public.
— The Herald Bulletin